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How To Determine Poor Sleep QualityFeb 17, 2024

When it comes to sleep, quantity is important, but so is quality. Most adults need somewhere between seven and nine hours a night to wake up feeling well-rested, but a lot depends on exactly what happens during those hours. The quality of your sleep ensures that you get the essential physical, mental, and emotional benefits you need from your slumber.

How Do You Measure Good Sleep Quality?

Sleep quality is the measurement of how well you’re sleeping—in other words, whether your sleep is restful and restorative. It differs from sleep satisfaction, which refers to a more subjective judgment of how you feel about the sleep you are getting. Sleep quality is more complicated to measure than sleep quantity, but it’s not entirely subjective. The blog gives an overview of sleep quality goals, and they include some individual and age differences. Four items are generally assessed to measure sleep quality:

  • Sleep latency: This is a measurement of how long it takes you to fall asleep. Drifting off within 30 minutes or less after the time you go to bed suggests that the quality of your sleep is good.
  • Sleep waking: These measure how often you wake up during the night. Frequent wakefulness at night can disrupt your sleep cycle and reduce your sleep quality. Waking up once or not at all suggests that your sleep quality is good.
  • Wakefulness: This measurement refers to how many minutes you spend awake during the night after you first go to sleep. People with good sleep quality have 20 minutes or less of wakefulness during the night.
  • Sleep efficiency: The amount of time you spend sleeping while in bed is known as sleep efficiency. This measurement should ideally be 85 percent or more for optimal health benefits.

If you’re curious, this is how you can calculate it: First, find your actual sleeping duration. Take your total time in bed (in minutes) minus how many minutes it took you to fall asleep and minus how many minutes you spent awake during the night. Divide that figure (actual sleeping time) by your total time in bed (in minutes). Finally, multiply that number by 100 to arrive at your sleep efficiency percentage. For example: 480 (total minutes in bed) – 30 (minutes to fall asleep) – 0 (minutes awake during the night) = 450 (actual sleep time in minutes). 450 / 480 =0.9375 x 100 = 93.75% sleep efficiency

Together, these four elements can help you assess the quality of your sleep. They contribute to an overall sense you have of your sleep being “satisfying” or not. Improving your sleep quality can help ensure that your sleep cycles won’t be interrupted, which in turn helps ensure that you will wake up feeling energized.

What is Poor Sleep Quality?

Signs of poor sleep quality include feeling sleepy or tired even after getting enough sleep, repeatedly waking up during the night, and having symptoms of a sleep disorder (such as snoring or gasping for air). Better sleep habits may improve the quality of your sleep. If you have symptoms of a sleep disorder, such as snoring or being very sleepy during the day after a full night’s sleep, make sure to tell us.

Reasons for Poor Sleep Quality

Any number of things could be contributing to your poor sleep quality. Some potential causes include poor sleep hygiene, stress, sleep apnea, or another chronic health condition or sleep disorder.

Poor Sleep Habits

Poor sleep habits, like having an irregular sleep schedule or consuming too much caffeine or alcohol, can interfere with your sleep quality. In a study, smoking and daily coffee consumption were two of the largest factors associated with poor sleep quality. Alcohol also disturbs your sleep, even though it’s considered a sedative.

Stress and Anxiety

Poor mental health, whether from increased stress, depression, or anxiety disorder, also contributes to poor sleep quality. Problematically, sleep deprivation and the resulting insomnia worsen these conditions. Learn more about depression.

Chronic Health Conditions

Certain chronic health conditions are associated with poor sleep patterns and less sleep overall. These include chronic lung diseases, asthma, acid reflux, renal disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. Unfortunately, as with stress and anxiety, poor sleep quality can exacerbate the symptoms and discomfort felt with these conditions.

Book your Vancouver Preventive Health Assessment now.

Sleep Apnea

A person with sleep apnea experiences temporary lapses in breathing during their sleep, resulting in gasping, choking, and snoring sounds. Even if they don’t consciously wake up, their brain has to kick-start breathing again, disrupting sleep quality. Sleepiness and a lack of energy are two of the most common complaints of individuals with sleep apnea.

Undiagnosed Sleep Disorder

Because they occur in your sleep, some sleep disorders go undiagnosed until a person seeks care for other symptoms like poor sleep quality or a sleep partner alerts them to the symptoms. For example, individuals with periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) experience involuntary jerking movements in their legs while they sleep, resulting in reduced sleep quality, fatigue, and poor concentration during the day. Individuals with narcolepsy likewise often suffer from poor sleep quality and experience daytime fatigue.

How to Improve Sleep Quality

Some habits that can improve your sleep health are:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
  • Limit daytime naps.
Know When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider

Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night. However, if you often have trouble sleeping, contact us now. Participate in our one-of-a-kind sleep therapy program for you! Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.